Nearly 1,700 students, including nearly 50 from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, attended the NC State Poole College of Management Career Fair at the McKimmon Center on September 18 and related events.
They met with recruiters from 114 companies in a range of industry sectors, including accounting, construction aggregates and building materials, entertainment, healthcare, finance, automotive and trucks, hospitality, insurance, retail, technology, and textiles.
More than a dozen were new to Poole College, and two returned to recruiting from the college after an absence, said Brian Newton, director of career development for the college’s undergraduate program and coordinator of the career fair.
Conversations at the college’s career fairs have been changing in the past year or so, with both students and recruiters discussing company commitment to diversity and inclusion, in addition to details about employment and career opportunities.
The changing narrative reflects a growing recognition of the importance of diversity within organizations, said Tayah Butler, director of diversity and inclusion at Poole College. It is a value borne out in the frequently cited research on diversity and innovation in the workplace by Poole College Professor Richard Warr and his colleagues.
It also is reflected in recruiter participation in new opportunities provided by Poole College to ‘change the narrative,’ a message championed by Tayah Butler since joining the college in 2016.
“These events provide an opportunity for recruiters who are actively seeking to diversify their talent pools and to meet members of the college’s diverse student population,” Butler said.
Inclusive Recruiter and Inclusive Leader banners displayed at dozens of recruiter booths during the college’s career fair represent the companies’ involvement in Poole College diversity and inclusion events, held in conjunction with the career fair and throughout the year.
New this year was an Inclusive Recruiter Reception held the evening prior to the career fair. It brought students from five diverse student organizations together with recruiters from 26 companies.
“The companies wanted to hear from the student organization leaders how to engage with their affinity groups,” Butler said. And they did, with students asking not only “What is it like for someone who looks like me in your organization,” but also specific questions about affinity groups, mentoring, identity, and more.
The Inclusive Leader Breakfast – the third since the event launched in fall 2017 – was the largest to date, with 16 recruiters and 138 students registered, Butler said. A company is recognized by Poole College as an Inclusive Leader when it is creating an inclusive community for their employees. Companies who are selected as Inclusive Leaders have various employee or business resource groups, programs and initiatives offered that intentionally provide support to diverse populations.
At the breakfast this year, the students had seven minutes per table to ask diversity and inclusion related questions as they working their way through the room. Participating companies were Bank of America, Cisco, Edward Jones, EY, GSK, IBM, MetLife, NetApp, PNC Bank, Sealed Air, Sherman Williams, Smithfield Foods, TEK Systems, Vanguard and VF Corporation.
A total of 30 companies participated in one or both of the two events. One of the participating executives, Latricia Frederick with Cisco, said that she “was a student at NC State about 20 years ago, now lives in D.C., has traveled all over the world with my work, and, ‘Whenever Tayah calls, I say, I’ll be right there.” – a comment that reflects the value she sees in the opportunities Butler is providing for students and recruiters.
Students brought what they learned from these and other diversity and inclusion events throughout the year into their conversations with recruiters at the supply chain career event held evening prior to the career fair as well as to the college-wide career fair. Forty-four companies participated in the supply chain recruiting event which was attended by 190 NC State students and six from UNC-Wilmington.
One of the supply chain recruiters told Butler that a student’s questions about his company’s diversity and inclusion policies led him to check in with his human resources team for details. It wasn’t a question that he had received from students before, he said, and he wanted to be prepared to respond at the career fair the next day.
“Recruiters love attending our fall career fair because of the high volume of professional and well-prepared students that attend,” Newton said. That includes students prepared well enough to send recruiters back to the home office for details.
New and Returning Recruiters
This year saw more than a dozen new companies recruiting at Poole College, and a few returning.
First-time Recruiters at Poole: Bowlero; Capital One; CTI Towers; Daimler Trucks; Deere-Hitachi; Dimension Data; Eli Lilly & Co; Even Responsible Finance; First National Bank; Hill, Chesson & Woody-Gallagher Benefit Services; London Stock Exchange Group; Martin Marietta; National Agents Alliance; Parks Hospitality Group; The Home Depot.
Returning Recruiters: Allstate Insurance Company and Credit Suisse
This story was updated on October 10, 2018, with an additional remark from a recruiter from Cisco.